Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breathing In, Breathing Out

Most days, as I get things started, I find forty reasons not to meditate for every one that motivates me to sit in silence.  And that's especially true this time of year...Advent, Christmas, the Season of Doing Everything.  I stumble upstairs from my office, first thing in the morning, and I know I have more important things to do.  Emails to read.  Calls to return.  Visits to make.  Projects to begin and develop and finish.  How in the world can I justify taking 45 minutes--just to sit, just to wait, just to breathe, just to pray?

But on the days I give in...on the days I turn around and crank up the computer...on the days I don't sit in silence--I notice a strange and unsettling pattern.  I move faster.  I think more impulsively.  I worry about things beyond my control.  To be honest, I go about my business as if it were just that--business; and not the holy, privileged ministry it truly is.

Breathing in and breathing out.  It's really so simple; yet it's so terribly hard to do.  Mindfully, at least.  Prayerfully.  When I do follow through, when I practice meditation day by day, I find that I'm more aware of the Spirit's mystery in my days.  I'm more present to the great privilege of my work, my calling.  I'm also willing to let things go...little worries, petty gripes, that kind of thing.  Breathing in, I receive the Spirit's breath, moment by moment by moment.  Breathing out, I give it back again, and release all kinds of ego needs.  If only for a little while.

I'm thinking so much about Mary these days: about her receptivity and openness, even when what's asked seems odd and risky.  Who knows what kind of daily, spiritual practice made this possible for her?  But somehow, Mary protected a space in her heart, a space for wonder, a space for the unknown, a space for grace.  Maybe she did that with prayer, with meditation.  Maybe she found friends, dear and wise allies to honor her emptiness and openness.

Somehow, this next week, I intend to follow my heart to the place where I silence, in meditation.  Breathing in and breathing out.  Each morning as the day begins.  I'll try to let undone stuff remain undone.  Advent's for waiting.  For emptying.  And I'll look for Mary there.